2011 Mac Mini Thunderbolt Port Not Working

jnachbar

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 30, 2010
69
37
I have a 2011 Mac Mini connected to an Akitio Thunderdock (via thunderbolt) that is no longer working. It has been flawless since I got in in early January until last night. All of a sudden I got those warning messages regarding improperly disconnecting drives that you get if you unplug them, or in this case if they somehow become unmounted. I think it is not the dock because the dock works just fine with my Macbook Air.

Both the power and thunderbolt (green & blue) lights are lit up on the dock, (as if it is working fine) but the drives do not show up or mount. I have usb3, eSata, and FW800 hooked up through the dock and none of them work. I think it's not the drives either, because they mount just fine when connected to the back of the mini through usb2 or FW800. Obviously I can't test the esata. In About this Mac, more info, system report, thunderbolt it says "no drive connected"

Plugged and unplugged everything on the doc, restarted mini multiple times. Haven't tried that reset where you disconnect everything, including the power cord. Nor have I tried booting from a backup clone I have. I'll try those tonight.

I also plugged my mini-display to hdmi adapter into the thunderbolt port to see if that worked and it sent out a video signal just fine to my TV. I know this doesn't tell me anything about thunderbolt function, but at least I know the port on the back of my mini isn't fried,

Any thoughts??
 
Last edited:

COrocket

macrumors 6502
Dec 9, 2012
483
1
Has the dock ever worked with the mac mini? The 2010 mini does not have a Thunderbolt port. It is just a mini-displayport.

It makes sense that the video output is working just fine but you can't connect any of the drives.
 

p3ntyne

macrumors 6502
Jan 10, 2014
406
3
Sydney, Australia
Well, that's interesting. You have never had thunderbolt on your Mac Mini...

If you search spotlight for system profiler, then click on thunderbolt and you will see a message that says 'no hardware found'.

The only possibility is that somehow your Mac Mini has a 2011 logic board in it (I don't even know if it would fit.)
 

jnachbar

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 30, 2010
69
37
Opps...My bad...It is a mid-2011 mini, the first year they came with thunderbolt. It only has usb2, which is a big reason I got the thunder dock. and yes the dock worked great for the past couple of months, great speed with usb3 and esata, plus an extra FW800. system profiler say "no device connected" I can see why the confusion from my original post calling it a 2010 mini!
 

jnachbar

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 30, 2010
69
37
2011 mac mini thunderbolt not working

opps can't change the thread title!
 

jnachbar

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 30, 2010
69
37
pulling the power plug on the mini for 30 seconds appeared to do the job for a few minutes, I think it is called a smc reset...then they all unmounted again within 5 minutes, generating the same warning messages about improperly disconnecting the drive...and wouldn't show up.
 

jnachbar

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 30, 2010
69
37
Thanks, changed the title...

Currently doing a reinstall of Mavericks to see if that helps with the thunderbolt port not working. I rebooted from a clone and that didn't solve the problem, though that clone may have been made after the problem started. I use CCC to automatically schedule clones.

The drives unmount within a few seconds of mounting every time I do a SMC reset. then nothing allows the drives to appear. Something screws up the mini at this point and I have to manually press and hold the power button to get it to shut down..

The dock works fine on my MBA, so I'm really thinking something is wrong with the Mini...
 

jnachbar

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 30, 2010
69
37
So I took the mini into the genius bar to have them check it out, but as soon as they saw I had 3rd party memory in it, it became an "unsupported configuration" issue. I have 16Gig 1600 MHz (2x8) from OWC, apple says..no-no-no can only support up to 8G 1333 MHz. I knew this probably wasn't the problem, but what could I do at that point, they became totally fixated on it. Got home and by some miracle, easily found the original memory 4G (2x2) 1333 Mhz memory, put that back in and... drumroll please...no change-same problem.

I suppose I could take it back to them with the original memory in it to prove I was right, but all that really gets me is the opportunity to by a $350 logic board.

Unless anybody has any other ideas, I think I'll set the dock aside for now, assume I have a bad thunderbolt port, use the minis usb2 ports, and wait for the new minis to come out...urgh
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,483
5,677
Have you tried substituting cables?

If I recall, thunderbolt cables have electronics built right into them, there's the possibility the cables have "internal problems"...
 

jnachbar

macrumors member
Original poster
Nov 30, 2010
69
37
Don't have another cable...maybe I take it back to the apple store and check or buy a cable and return it if it doesn't solve the problem

I also thought about going back a version in Mavericks, I did reinstall mavericks but I ran all the updates before testing the dock.

I also asked for a RMA on the dock. Since it is also acting weird on my 2013 Macbook Air now. not as bad and the mac mini, just has a hard time with the initial mounting. While it stays mounted on the Air, I can't disconnect and reconnect all the time.

thanks.